Oh god, it’s so nice not being woken up by Buster the cat. I mean he’s great ‘n all...most of the time... but recently he’s been pawing at me or stabbing me with a claw at exactly the moments when it’s most annoying, which is most annoying.
It’s less nice to have to put up with an absolutely piss weak shower. Our room’s bathroom is weird: the water from the sink almost breaks the head off a toothbrush because it’s so strong, yet the shower has virtually no pressure whatsoever. Furthermore it requires an extraordinarily delicate touch to land the temperature in the slim sliver of an angle between scalding hot and freezing cold. Bah. So let’s call the morning a draw, and go out to get breakfast.
Oh. The breakfast place across the road isn’t open yet. We’ve wandered out just before 10am on a bank holiday Saturday and there’s not much doing except a few large groups of tourists. We’re both ravenously hungry so opt to head to the market for a breakfast raclette, to the soundtrack of bells. Lots and lots and lots of bells. Presumably related to the immaculate conception, Innsbruck is loud today, everywhere: the bells echo off the stone walls in the narrow streets and are inescapable.
Up at the market, none of the stalls are open yet. Oh. So we walk back and find seats inside Strudel Cafe, a cafe specialising in strudel. Who knew you could get savoury strudel?
At Hungerburg, bells are ringing. It’s still cold and we don’t stop for any bravery-rewarding booze, instead opting to get in the crowded funicular back down to the bottom.
It’s a horrible ride on the inside because there’s a child whose piercing screams are loud enough that I fear my eardrums may be perforated. Ouch.
Back in town and into the altstadt we’re on a mission for raclette. The whole place is absolutely rammed to the gills, way worse than on Friday. We manage to join a queue to buy some, only to be told once we reach the front that it’s the pick-up place only, the ordering takes place next door. Damn it! It’s really unpleasant around here anyway so we try a few side streets, unsuccessfully, eventually deciding to visit the Markthalle which is a large food hall by the river.
We get there are 3.45pm and most stalls are closing up; being a public holiday, today everything shuts at 4pm. Bugger. Oh well. Back out and through the nearby market, everything is still rammed and the Austrian respect for personal space is in full effect: one lady points something out to her companion, nearly picking Helen’s nose for her, and absolutely not moving her hand even though we’re trying to walk past and get OUT of her way.
Bells are still ringing out throughout the city as we change tack and hunt for somewhere to sit in and eat. Places seem either too expensive or too smoky until we hit upon the back room of a cafe/bar called Ostarichi: the front room is full of boisterous men drinking and singing, but the back is entirely empty, and it’s a no smoking venue. Hurrah!